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Old 07-11-2008, 07:45 PM   #1
Peter Debelak
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Default Raising the Children of Christians

As a new father, I consider this topic often in these days. In doing so, I have reflected much on my experience, being raised in the LC.

When I lived in Anaheim, the order of the day was the program which had children saved by the 6th grade (really, it was a curriculem) and "Journey through the Bible" toward that end. In the Midwest, where I'm from and now live, there are "new efforts" such as MountainTop and Ignite. So many ways and means...

My most fundamental concern is this: when we engage in Christian and "spiritual" activities with our children, do we have faith?

Let me unpack that. First, there is certainly principles about raising children under the law - which is a "child conductor." Teach them to respect their elders; to be kind to others - raise them in Matthew 5. This just produces good character and, if they really internalize this stuff, it won't be long till they realize they need a Savior...

But do we need to raise them in "Christianity" - always "nudging" them toward salvation or (after they're saved and baptized at age 6) toward their greater sanctification?

It seems to me that our practice wreaks of a lack of faith. Let me ask: do we believe God is true? Do we believe that "God arranges men's seasons that he might grope for Him"? Do we believe that, faced with the vacatness of this life, with a realization of personal poverty, that man realizes and recognizes His need for a savior when he hears the gospel?

If so, what are we teaching for? Really. Life out there has so much more to offer kids, in terms of growth and potential, than being in a "social club that happens to talk about Jesus." Are all our "programs" trying to make up for the GLARING fact that our kids don't have much conviction?

I say (and by "say", I mean "question"...), let them fall head first into the emptiness of the world - while focusing my efforts as a parent on infusing into them an upright character and a life that is constantly seeking after truth.

The references to "training" or "inspiring" or "instructing" children of Christians are almost nil in the New Testament (correct me here if my memory is failing me).

God promises "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord your God will call." Acts 2:39. Do we believe Him or do we need to "construct" our children's salvation?

Am I being to "over-spiritual"?

Peter
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:09 PM   #2
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Good questions, but while I agree on the need for faith in raising our children (or others children for that matter), we shouldn't get fatalistic about it. Seems the OT felt the jews should instruct generations that followed them regarding God and His law.

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Am I being to "over-spiritual"?
I think so. I think it's important to instruct children concerning the Lord and following Him. We should do so full of faith in Him and distrusting our methods and the quality of our instruction. A set of verses that help me wrestle with a related item are Romans 10:11-15. In these verses we have the scriptures, God's willingness to save based on faith, and those who preach faith according to the scriptures. How shall they believe without one who proclaims the news of good things?
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Old Rasputin View Post
Good questions, but while I agree on the need for faith in raising our children (or others children for that matter), we shouldn't get fatalistic about it. Seems the OT felt the jews should instruct generations that followed them regarding God and His law.


I think so. I think it's important to instruct children concerning the Lord and following Him. We should do so full of faith in Him and distrusting our methods and the quality of our instruction. A set of verses that help me wrestle with a related item are Romans 10:11-15. In these verses we have the scriptures, God's willingness to save based on faith, and those who preach faith according to the scriptures. How shall they believe without one who proclaims the news of good things?
Points very much taken to heart. Of course, I am articulating what I know to be one side of a coin. Our children must be raised according to the highest standards of the humanity, as exemplified in the law - for that is the best teacher unto Christ. ANd Our children must hear the gospel, even over and again. Yet there is a balance, is there not? I know from my own experience (I mean my own, I'm not referencing my parent's approach to parenting), that hearing the gospel and "being a church kid" are two vastly different things. One has a word that will resonate with me in quite moments my whole life. The other can easilily become a comfortable culture with no need of Christ, even as it professes Him.

As a stupid anecdote to this: have you ever heard the "pick up line" used by a "young person": "sister, I really enjoyed your spirit in your testimony."

All that said, I hear your counter-point. Getting back to the SCripture, though, there really isn't much specific to raising children as Christians that isn't a word geared toward reaching unbelievers in general (as far as the gospel goes). In that light, consider turning the tables: do we treat our children differently and with less respect for the Lord's operation and timing than we do "new contacts"?

Some more thoughts for examination and exposing...

Peter
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for this thread, Peter. This area, for me, has always been a top concern, and I have spent some of my years in various capacities - father, home educator, school teacher, youth worker, etc. So, I've made many mistakes.

I'm familiar with all of different "programs" that you have brought up. When "Journey Through the Bible" came out years back, I remember looking through and marveling at its high quality, depth, and many integrated facets (instructions for personal time, for "companion" time, its possible use in youth meetings, etc.). It took me a little while to realize that the kids weren't really interested in all of that high structure, and the popularity of the arrangement seemed a great deal deeper among the parents and older set than the actual target audience. That tells you something. Before that, of course, you had other seeming "experts" in the LC on children coming up with their own agendae - Gene Gruhler, Sterling Byasee, Steve Clark, etc.

Anyway, let me step back and take this out of the specific LC context.

In all of the constant "doing," perhaps there is just a simple lack of prayer and faith, as you have suggested. I fully agree.

However, from simple experience, I absolutely have to question the premise of letting children "fall head first into the emptiness of the world." Imagine to let your child enter and fend in a realm in which you yourself would be most unhappy. The problem, though is, - that the world has a particular attracting power. So, if it were a question of raising Christian children clear on their "other-worldly" identity but otherwise lukewarm, or risking having young souls lost in the waves of constant de-sensitizing to everything the world affords (and, by the way, this doesn't have to be the choice), then I would choose the former.

Most unfortunately, I have seen too many children grow up to be completely disinterested in any kind of church-life or the Christian faith within them. It has become the parents' "thing." Yes, I am fully desirous to let God work. So, I do not need a strict program that dictates salvation and baptism at age 13. With my own children, I rejected those intellectual restraints and limitations, and we held to the premise that some things were family (and not church) matters. There is also the reality that my home - our home - is a Christian home. It must be the Lord's home. Within this familial community, my children were included as partners - to enjoy a faith that is real. To let it be their parents' "thing" is to suggest, I feel, that they as children were not properly included in the first place.

Just some scattered thoughts. And as scattered, realize that I did not mean to address you or your thoughts directly and systematically. So, don't take anything as a correction aimed at you. I merely took off on the topic and wrote what came to heart.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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In terms of "over-spirituality," let me just tell a humorous anecdote of my own from many years back.

At a given point, we decided to remove our children from the public school system and begin paying tuition at a private school run by a local Baptist church.

This must have appeared to be setting some odd new precedent in that LC, so one sister approached me with concern, asking -

"Aren't you afraid that your children will be attracted to Christianity?"

To which I replied -

"No - I'm more concerned that they'll be attracted to the world!"

Several years later, when we started to homeschool, the issue came to the surface again when a different sister asked me why we weren't sending our children to a public school so that they could be a "light to the world."

Well, that really got my dander up, and I told her, "Sister, when you have children of your own, we can talk about this," and turned around and walked away.

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Old 07-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
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Testing123:

Your response hits on a number of things I have been considering. As par for the course, I won't hit them all and certainly not in any systematic way.

Let me begin by acknowledging your challenge to my statement "let them fall head first into the emptiness of the world." It is a challange well taken. My statement has a negative connotation since I reference the "emptiness". I only reference the emptiness from a "dramatic irony" point of view (where the speaker knows more than the actors). From the child's point of view, who does not know the Lord, I would reframe the statement "let them strive for excellence and uprightness in the world." Let them thoroughly engage with life, armed with what we teach them: the law and righteouness - and a "spirit" and approach that strives for truth, that gropes for understanding.

Its true, the world has a powerful attracting power - both positively and negatively. Success can be devourous. And the flesh is persistent. Thing is, I have known parents who - for all their children - strive to create a restrictive environment which would result in your "other-worldly" identiy. And these parents, well, they end up with one kid who's absolute for the ministry, one kid who finds drugs a pleasant release, and yet another who thinks both their siblings are ridiculous as he masters wall street. And then I've seen the parents who "let their kids go" - with much of the same results - in regards to finding faith (i.e. I'm not getting into a more general discussion on parenting).

What I've said/questioned in my previous posts below - that can turn into its own "way" of doing things.

I think the central thought - in relation to desiring true faith from our children - must be a realization that they are not ours. They are the Lords. And like all things with that Fellow, the "way," the timing and the convicting are in His hands.

As to children appreciating the "familiness" - the way of life and the conviction of their parents - even being a part of it even before it is "theirs," I agree to an extent.

I will make a confession to you: in the period in my life when I rejected God and Christ, I obviously could not say I had faith in God. I could say, however, that I had faith in my father's faith in God. There is something powerful there. Something that was a protection for me. I don't really know how to expound on that more. I will leave it at that...

I hope we can search this out some more...

Peter
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:02 PM   #7
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I will make a confession to you: in the period in my life when I rejected God and Christ, I obviously could not say I had faith in God. I could say, however, that I had faith in my father's faith in God. There is something powerful there. Something that was a protection for me. I don't really know how to expound on that more. I will leave it at that...
Peter, I find that testimony extraordinary and very thought-provoking. Thanks very much for relaying it.

As for the rest, I'm going to consider more and definitely respond at greater length, but tomorrow.

Good night.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:08 PM   #8
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Peter I think raising children goes through several stages. To lay a foundation in their youth we teach them right from wrong. Essentially we teach them what to think. As they grow and their capacity increases we teach them how to think. By the time they leave our direct influence we hope we have taught them how to make choices that will have a positive effect on their lives and those of others.

What it might look like in application is: stealing is wrong and you cannot see that movie because it glamorizes stealing [grammar school age] to stealing is wrong and you know that because you were taught this so I trust when you see the movie you will not be seduced by the glamorization of theft [jr high age] to your buddies were caught shoplifting at the mall but you made the right choice not to shoplift [hs age].

My only advise on parenting is to be the best father and mother you can be. Be authentic human beings. Take your kids on vacation, get them into sports, go to Disney World with them, etc. And watch for signs of natural abilities they might have so you can nudge them in a direction that might help develop those abilities e.g. playing a musical instrument, etc. And give them the best formal education you can afford. And be aware and openly discuss the real issues they face or will face: porn, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc i.e. keep the lines of communication open with no subject off limits

May God give you the wisdom and grace to handle the toughest job in the world but also the most rewarding!
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:52 AM   #9
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Peter said: As a stupid anecdote to this: have you ever heard the "pick up line" used by a "young person": "sister, I really enjoyed your spirit in your testimony."

Yeah, I have. Waaay back when, as a young single sister, hoping hard for a husband, that sort of thing was almost -- well, like 'singles-bar' talk must be. ( I am only going by what I have seen in movies on that. Thank the Lord, I did find my husband and have never had to suffer the worldly game of dating. Whew!!! Not sure I would ever have been up to that insanity!
Anyway, that was how we really did talk. Once, I was sort of on a date with a brother -- not that anyone dated, mind you --- heck no --- we went to this little neighborhood Mexican food place, and while we were eating I got a way too big dose of hot peppers. My face was burning, tears were running down my face, and the brother just kept talking about the New Jersalem desending out of heaven from God. I mean, he just kept talking about it. Finally he looked up at me and said 'is something wrong?'. I knew he was NOT the man for me.

Peter, your questions about parenting touch my heart very much. My kids are in their mid 20's and 30's, and with a doubt, the best thing I ever did. For what it is worth, here are my words of wisdom:

1. Just enjoy them. Love the heck out of those babies, and know that they will always be your kids. I loved Testing123's story about his kids, and school. I just betcha the sisters that asked him those questions aren't in Testing's life anymore, that's just how it works. But his kids are still his kids.

B. What djohnson said was exactly what I would say. Concerning this: [B][Be authentic human beings. Take your kids on vacation, get them into sports, go to Disney World with them, etc./B]-- having been in the LC (luckily my first child was two when we exited with joy and dancing so he wasn't too affected), where NOTHING was okay for kids -- no actitivites at all, other than 'the church life' --- my idea became this: say yes as often as you can to your kids. Yes, yes, yes. Yes, we can go to the park. Yes, we can rent a movie, or go on vacation or you can be on a sports team. Yes, we will get a Christmas tree. Yes, we will go visit Grandma. Yes, we will go for a fun family drive (maybe a walk, with gas prices ). Yes, yes, yes. Realize when we were in the LC (70's) none of these things were 'allowed'.
So, say yes as much as you possibly can, so when you have to say no, to protect your kids from danger or influences that you can't agree with, hopefully they will remember all the yeses, and take the no well. In my experience, they actually DO remember. Mostly. Usually. Not always. But, mostly.

And Peter, your story about your dad is flat out amazing and wonderful. You will be an excellent dad, you had a good role model, I think.

This is my longest post EVER.

finallyprettyokay

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Old 07-12-2008, 08:52 AM   #10
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Question "children's meetings"

I'll take heat for this one too, probably, but it really is just an honest question:

How come none of the LC people ever realize the horrible degradation of so-called "children's meetings"?

I got in a lot of trouble right there at the end for noticing and commenting that they were nothing more than fairly typical Protestant Sunday School classes.

But it was really a problem because I saw the "church kids" reaching a certain age suddenly required to "function in the big meetings" after having done coloring pages all their life. These dear saints didn't even seem to be able to perceive the damage this ingrained practice was doing to their very own children.

Please, someone, help me understand how the Lord's words about millstones around the neck and normal human affection could BOTH be thrown under the LC bus?

I just couldn't ever understand this one at all.

I saw a video tape running of a puppet show while on a tour of the LSM facilities one time and I couldn't even believe it, really.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about here?
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:28 AM   #11
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YPO said: Please, someone, help me understand how the Lord's words about millstones around the neck and normal human affection could BOTH be thrown under the LC bus?


YPO, no heat here.

Our oldest son was born in 1975. We lived in Anaheim at the time, in the bldg. next door to Francis Ball, and across the street from Witness Lee (who didn't even have a clue who we were, that we were his 'followers', or even (seemingly) that we existed. He was NOT friendly at all. That is beside this point. Or maybe not.)

But we did know Francis and his sweet wife. Francis and my husband had spent some time together, were somewhat connected. They had in common that they both had children they had lost all contact with, children born to each of them in a former life.

Okay, Witness Lee had just given a sermon (yes, that is what they were. just sermons, like anyone else) about how children are 'wrappers', because they wrap up our hearts. And this is a bad thing. (GRRRR).

So, I ran into Francis in the neighborhood, had my little newborn with me and said joyfully -- Look, our baby! And Francis (bless his heart) said 'just don't let him get your heart. Children are wrappers!' And I, being the good little soldier, said 'oh, no, he won't'. And I thought (in the honest part of me) -- this boy had my heart before he was born. Actually, before he was conceived he had my heart. Completely.

The Bible talks about in the last days people not having natural affections. There you go. Enough said. I don't want to call that a doctrine of demons --- guess I will leave that to the Bible to say.

Our children are our biggest gifts, our biggest lessons, our biggest learning tools and our joy. Not one thing in my life is more important to me than my sons. Big, grownup, 6'3" sons. Cool Cats
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by finallyprettyokay View Post
YPO said: Please, someone, help me understand how the Lord's words about millstones around the neck and normal human affection could BOTH be thrown under the LC bus?


YPO, no heat here.

...

And Francis (bless his heart) said 'just don't let him get your heart. Children are wrappers!' And I, being the good little soldier, said 'oh, no, he won't'. And I thought (in the honest part of me) -- this boy had my heart before he was born. Actually, before he was conceived he had my heart. Completely.

The Bible talks about in the last days people not having natural affections. There you go. Enough said. I don't want to call that a doctrine of demons --- guess I will leave that to the Bible to say.

Our children are our biggest gifts, our biggest lessons, our biggest learning tools and our joy. Not one thing in my life is more important to me than my sons. Big, grownup, 6'3" sons. Cool Cats

WOW.
Never heard of the "wrapper" doctrine before.

Looks like that one might have started in the Genesis Life-Study too.
Quote:
Obeying Godís Calling in a Dragging Way
This time Abraham obeyed Godís calling, but he did not
do so in a clean-cut way. He was still dragging along. We
know this because he did not only take his wife Sarai with
him but also his nephew Lot (12:4). Lot was a member of his
fatherís family. Did not Abraham hear when God told him to
get out of his fatherís house? Why then did he bring with
him a member of his fatherís house? I believe that I can tell
you the reason. At that time Abraham was quite old. He was
seventy-five years of age. Although he was seventy-five years
old, he still did not have a son of his own. For such a long
journey he surely needed a young man to help him. That was
his excuse. Abraham might have said, ĎĎGod called me, but
should I leave my nephew? Should I not love him?íí Humanly
speaking, everyone would say that Abraham was right in
bringing Lot.
What is the meaning of the name Lot? It means a veil, a
wrapping. Your dear relatives, whom you love so much and
whom you would take with you in answering Godís calling,
are always veils to you. Look at your situation. Many of us
have answered Godís calling in a way of taking a veil along
with us.
Lot did not help Abraham at all. Rather, he caused
trouble. When we come to Genesis 13, we shall see that Lot
caused a great deal of trouble to Abraham and that eventually
he had to leave Abraham. If you examine your own situation
you will see that probably it was exactly the same as
Abrahamís.
In the gospel preaching today people are mostly told that
if they believe in the Lord Jesus, they will be saved from hell
and will go to heaven one day. This is true, but it is shallow.
From Godís point of view, to be saved is to be called. God is
not concerned about hell but about your country, your kindred,
and your fatherís house. God is concerned about your
environment, surroundings, and background. To be saved
means to be called out of your background, to be called out
of your present surroundings, environment, and situation. To
be saved is not merely a matter of having your sins forgiven,
of being rescued from hell, and of being qualified to go to
heaven. To be saved means to be called out of your background
and environment. LS Genesis 40
Another example of loose speaking and lack of balance causing huge problems!

No doubt our dedication to our families can potentially become big problems with our going on with the Lord.
Anything can!
But to have such a word spoken as what was repeated/twisted to you is a shame to both divinity and humanity!
Even the evil ones love their own children and know to give them good things, Francis!

The saddest thing is that, pretty clearly now, the biggest veil of all was named Phillip...
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post

When I lived in Anaheim, the order of the day was the program which had children saved by the 6th grade (really, it was a curriculem) and "Journey through the Bible" toward that end. In the Midwest, where I'm from and now live, there are "new efforts" such as MountainTop and Ignite. So many ways and means...

My most fundamental concern is this: when we engage in Christian and "spiritual" activities with our children, do we have faith?

... do we need to raise them in "Christianity" - always "nudging" them toward salvation or (after they're saved and baptized at age 6) toward their greater sanctification?

It seems to me that our practice reeks of a lack of faith. Let me ask: do we believe God is true? Do we believe that "God arranges men's seasons that he might grope for Him"? Do we believe that, faced with the vacatness of this life, with a realization of personal poverty, that man realizes and recognizes His need for a savior when he hears the gospel?
I have a view that I call "The two kingdoms". The first kingdom (domain, realm, sphere) is the one inside. We control that (by God's grace and mercy, of course). If we are happy it is because we have decided to be happy. If we are anxious, miserable, sad, angry, whatever, it is because we have decided to construct a kingdom of such. Though we usually blame it on others (It's raining; I didn't get the promotion; I got a flat tire, etc), actually it is because we chose to feel this way.

The second kingdom is everything outside. All that belongs to God. And that includes our car, our house, our job. And yes, our family. Children are special, though they are outside us, because for them the 'barrier' between self (me) and the world (you) is not clear yet. It usually takes a dozen years for it to begin to form clearly, and another dozen to become firmed up. So when I am with a child, if I want them to laugh, I laugh, or do something silly. If I want them to be unhappy (I don't, I am just saying this for contrast) it is pretty easy to arrange. I used to love to act out stories in front of children. Thier faces were like mirrors, shining back whatever role I portrayed.

The kingdom which that growing child constructs is ultimately between them and God. What we can do, beyond what has been stated by others on this thread, which I agree with heartily, is to build our own kingdom and let God flow. Because God is real and does want to flow. If we push our version onto the little vessel in our care it does them a great disservice. Because our version is on display 24/7 already, and they are sponges.

On a related note, the reason people push their version of the gospel of Jesus Christ onto others is because it is someone else's view that got pushed pushed on to (into) them. Witness Lee somehow had to be right, which meant we all had to do what he said. Then we push that same thing on our children and our gospel contacts. No difference, in my view. Sometimes it gets results but the results are not as good as when we get out of the way and believe in God.

Excellent thoughts, Peter. Your characterization of what you call "the program" is I think spot on. My disquisition was my feeble attempt to say 'amen'.

Last edited by aron; 07-13-2008 at 02:32 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:39 PM   #14
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I'll take heat for this one too, probably, but it really is just an honest question:

How come none of the LC people ever realize the horrible degradation of so-called "children's meetings"?

I got in a lot of trouble right there at the end for noticing and commenting that they were nothing more than fairly typical Protestant Sunday School classes.

But it was really a problem because I saw the "church kids" reaching a certain age suddenly required to "function in the big meetings" after having done coloring pages all their life. These dear saints didn't even seem to be able to perceive the damage this ingrained practice was doing to their very own children.

Please, someone, help me understand how the Lord's words about millstones around the neck and normal human affection could BOTH be thrown under the LC bus?

I just couldn't ever understand this one at all.

I saw a video tape running of a puppet show while on a tour of the LSM facilities one time and I couldn't even believe it, really.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about here?
I had the same realization at some point along the way. The only families that were able to overcome this degradation were the ones where the children functioned in the home. To them, 'church' and 'family' were not two different things. But for most, Sunday 'church' and Monday through Saturday 'home life' were too disconnected, and, though most got saved, when they got the choice most of the children got out.

The hardest thing I ever saw in the church life was children 'performing' like trained monkeys, merely to assuage the adults' egos. It broke my heart.

Last edited by aron; 07-13-2008 at 02:41 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:08 PM   #15
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I think our primary responsibility is to God and second to our immediate families. The idea that a parent would prioritize a church group or ministry or minister above their family is contrary to human nature and to the bible. Example application: if a church conference is scheduled during my vacation time I will be taking my family to the beach, mountains, Disney World, Hawaii or whatever we decide to do and I guess I'll have to miss the conference. Oh well I'm sure they'll be others I can make.

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Old 07-18-2008, 10:26 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by finallyprettyokay View Post
[COLOR="Blue"]

B. What djohnson said was exactly what I would say. Concerning this: [Be authentic human beings. Take your kids on vacation, get them into sports, go to Disney World with them, etc./B]-- having been in the LC (luckily my first child was two when we exited with joy and dancing so he wasn't too affected), where NOTHING was okay for kids -- no actitivites at all, other than 'the church life' --- my idea became this: say yes as often as you can to your kids. Yes, yes, yes. Yes, we can go to the park. Yes, we can rent a movie, or go on vacation or you can be on a sports team. Yes, we will get a Christmas tree. Yes, we will go visit Grandma. Yes, we will go for a fun family drive (maybe a walk, with gas prices ). Yes, yes, yes. Realize when we were in the LC (70's) none of these things were 'allowed'.
So, say yes as much as you possibly can, so when you have to say no, to protect your kids from danger or influences that you can't agree with, hopefully they will remember all the yeses, and take the no well. In my experience, they actually DO remember. Mostly. Usually. Not always. But, mostly.



finallyprettyokay
finallyprettyokay:

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and re-reading the posts in this thread. First, because of what the posters have to say - but even moreso, because of the obvious liberation and sweetness that pours off the screen from the tone and manner in which everyone has addressed this subject.

I appreciate your "yes" approach to raising kids. My father used to say that Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was the stupidest thing ever. You can say "no" all you want, but if you're hangin' out with buddies who are into drugs (or whatever) day-in-and-day-out, your "no" will only last so long. Instead, he would say, teach your kids to say "yes!" Yes to all sorts of endeavors - sports, music, studies, writing, art, boy scouts... A full life of accomplishing leaves no time or desire to hang out in situations where you'd be required to "Just say no..."

Relatedly, I recall when my father moved to Anaheim and was involved with the YP work there. He started preaching this same message - inspiring the "young people" to dive into their goals. "Become the best middle-linebacker you can...", "become the editor of your yearbook...". Let's just say the reception from the "leaders" wasn't the most positive (with some exceptions). A typical response: "But if they're in football, they will miss many Friday night meetings..."

As a personal follow-up to this: despite my parent's best efforts, I desired to be the best darn church-kid I could be... Not because there was parental pressure (in fact, often the opposite: "Don't be here if its just a social club, there's too many out enriching things out there to be doing instead"). I guess I just internalized the cache attached to being a "good brother" and, besides, I was good at it... (by outward standards, but as I discovered, it was skin deep). Its amazing the sanctimony kids pick-up and exercise among one another... Ever hear of the concept that junior high gangs are the most dangerous? They have all the "trappings" and outward behavior of being in a gang, without any of the internal rationale or limitations - and thus often perpetrate the most senseless acts. Well, it could be kind of like that at times...

At any rate, that was a rambling response to your very encouraging post.

Grace to you,

Peter

P.S. My parents' testimony is there's to tell. But I do find a little pleasure in using my parents as examples in making observations - getting my dad back for all those occasions I was the "example" in one of his messages...
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:49 AM   #17
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Peter sounds like your parents had a lot of wisdom.

The local church system might work for kids if they were physically isolated from main stream culture e.g. Amish. But they try to be isolationists while physically living in the culture and while for an adult this might be doable for kids it's nearly impossible. And in my view not healthy humanly speaking anyway. So to direct kids to use their time and talents and skills do positive things as your parents did is really wise and displays an understanding of human beings and social dynamics.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:04 AM   #18
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I have a view that I call "The two kingdoms". ...

The kingdom which that growing child constructs is ultimately between them and God. What we can do, beyond what has been stated by others on this thread, which I agree with heartily, is to build our own kingdom and let God flow. Because God is real and does want to flow. If we push our version onto the little vessel in our care it does them a great disservice. Because our version is on display 24/7 already, and they are sponges.
This is a very insightful perspective, aron. Already I can see my 7 month old mirroring me. It is delighful and, at times...scary (as in "Oh, geez, she picks up everything I do - yikes!"). As you may glean from my previous posts, I agree with you that the "kingdom" which my child constructs is between she and God and in that light, I can but endeavor to live in THE kingdom, which - as you say - will be on display to my child 24/7.

I do think, however, that the manner in which my child will construct her "kingdom" is something extremely important and something which can be inparted to her (to some extent).

Some "kingdoms" get constructed by default - i.e. that which is established after living with no thought of how you're living. This can apply even in the most neutral or positive of environments. Being raised in a Christian community can be, for a child, no different than if they were raised in a Hindu community. They learn the cultural norms and mores. They master the social interaction. They strive for acceptance, even prominence, all according to those very human standards. This may be a good living, but it is still the result of living with no thought or contemplation of how you are living (if that makes sense).

Alternatively, "kingdoms" can get constructed by particular agendas. I won't elaborate - I think we know these...

I believe that, while I cannot impose a particular "kingdom" on my child, I can influence the way she approaches its construction, even before she knows Christ. We can teach them as Paul taught the Athenians (Acts 17) -

24The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;

25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

28for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'


In everything they do - particularly when they run into disappointment - we can teach them to question, to ask God "Why" and to consider what is the source of all that they confront. I believe a life lived in this way won't produce just any ole "kingdom." Indeed, it might just introduce them to their King.

This may be a case of "be careful what you wish for," but I believe a "groping" child is a healthy one...

Grace to you,

Peter
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:06 AM   #19
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The local church system might work for kids if they were physically isolated from main stream culture e.g. Amish. But they try to be isolationists while physically living in the culture and while for an adult this might be doable for kids it's nearly impossible. And in my view not healthy humanly speaking anyway. So to direct kids to use their time and talents and skills do positive things as your parents did is really wise and displays an understanding of human beings and social dynamics.
I agree. But I think that an Amish-like local church system "works for kids" only insofar as the group itself defines "works." They may be able to produce their desired results that way - but that doesn't mean they are God's desired results...
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:25 PM   #20
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I appreciate your "yes" approach to raising kids. My father used to say that Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was the stupidest thing ever. Relatedly, I recall when my father moved to Anaheim and was involved with the YP work there. He started preaching this same message - inspiring the "young people" to dive into their goals. "Become the best middle-linebacker you can...", "become the editor of your yearbook...". Let's just say the reception from the "leaders" wasn't the most positive (with some exceptions). A typical response: "But if they're in football, they will miss many Friday night meetings..."

P.S. My parents' testimony is there's to tell. But I do find a little pleasure in using my parents as examples in making observations - getting my dad back for all those occasions I was the "example" in one of his messages...
Hey brother Peter,

I highly commend you for going public with your identity. Hopefully, over time, you can say much more, because I have had a whole boat load of comments that I have wanted to say before about different aspects of the positive impact your family has had, even though your dad was often "muzzled" by the bosses.

Anyways, great comment about "just say no!" As one who grew up in a huge family, with little personal coaching, that's really all I knew. No wonder things went so bad for me, because I had little or no encouragement to pursue anything positive, only discipline to stop the negative. Healthy children need a little more than just "no."

The LC's often times had the same mind set, "what if they miss the Friday night meeting." It was always "short term gain," and subsequent "long term loss."

After I withdrew from the LC's, I could not believe some of the thoughtful observations my son made. He saw thru things I was just beginning to be aware of. How difficult it is to self-critique a program I had spent decades defending.
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:40 PM   #21
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Peter,
I too am awaiting to hear from you...long time...ago I met you...my daughter Evelyn used to visit your sister!
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:53 PM   #22
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I still don't know much about this topic but I'm listening.

There surely was a reason that the Lord warned us against hindering the little ones....
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:48 PM   #23
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The LC's often times had the same mind set, "what if they miss the Friday night meeting." It was always "short term gain," and subsequent "long term loss."

this is the main reason that i left the lc.. you could not be human.. you had to be in a religous prison.. and in not being human you could not experience Christ ....thank you Lord you are our person ..(lol) thru the Word of God becoming flesh.. we take you as our Life ..and we can because you died for our salvation..we love you Jesus.. and give you the honor and glory and blessing.. Praise God!!
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:08 PM   #24
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Nothing exposes a parent's lack of genuine-Christ-likeness more than his or her own children.



My advice for parents:
  • Be genuine. Don't put on a false front.
  • Don't try to save face. Apologize as often as needed.
  • Check your temper. Angry parents produce angry children.
  • Make time for them.
  • Show an interest in what they are interested in.
  • Speak the truth of God to them simply and directly.
  • Expect them to eventually have to find their own way.
  • Pray.
  • Make sure everything you do toward them originates in love.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:26 PM   #25
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Igzy wrote: Don't try to save face. Apologize as often as needed.

I wonder if parents are still being told to Never Apologize. That is certainly the motto I was raised with --- and heard when my sons (33 and 26 now ) were little. Some dumb idea about losing authority with your kids if you admit you are wrong. Igzy, you are right on.


And Igzy wrote: Nothing exposes a parent's lack of genuine-Christ-likeness more than his or her own children.


A little boy went with his parents to church to have his baby brother dedicated to God. On the way home, he was just sobbing in the back seat. When his dad finally got him to talk, to tell them what was wrong, he said "The pastor said he wants us to be raised in a Christian home. I want to stay with you guys!"





FPO
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:45 AM   #26
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I wonder if parents are still being told to Never Apologize. That is certainly the motto I was raised with --- and heard when my sons (33 and 26 now ) were little. Some dumb idea about losing authority with your kids if you admit you are wrong. Igzy, you are right on.
FPO,

This was the best advice I ever received as a parent. I've since apologized many times to my kids. Sometimes for not coming through on my promises, but usually for losing my temper or otherwise being too harsh. Every time I do my children and I have been brought closer.

We think we need to defend our "image," but actually our children respect us more when we admit our failures.

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A little boy went with his parents to church to have his baby brother dedicated to God. On the way home, he was just sobbing in the back seat. When his dad finally got him to talk, to tell them what was wrong, he said "The pastor said he wants us to be raised in a Christian home. I want to stay with you guys!"
I'll have to pass that one along.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:04 PM   #27
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IMHO by the time kids are in HS they don't need to hear more about their "parent's religion". So I think high school ministry should be a minimum of doctrine and even general bible teaching and instead should focus on addressing practical issues from a biblical perspective: human sexuality, relationships, life skills, career choices, etc. Plus music with the genres they are accustomed to and many outings and activities e.g. trips, sports, etc. And social justice (which in my observation is a concern among young people today) i.e. actively helping the poor, disadvantaged.
I have conflicting feelings on this. As a young father, I pray and think a lot about how to raise up my children that they might find a rich faith. Indeed, when this forum first started, I started a thread "Raising the Children of Christians."

On one hand, I agree with you that "indoctrinating" them is not good. On the other hand they often indoctrinate themselves among eachother. In a close community, it becomes a badge of honor to be "good" at being a Christian. Its like everyone wanting to in the "cool group" in secular high school. You just redefine what "cool" is.

If that happens, and then you turn to getting into all sorts of life issues (sex, social justice, etc...) through a Christian lens (that is, through the lens of a faith they don't actually have yet) as you say, they end up like junior high gang members. They have all the "trappings" of being in the gang, without any of the substantive rationale for it. Thus, they end up doing some of the most senseless acts of violence. I have been around numerous "youth groups" both within and outside of the LC and they often are quite "gang-like" in mentality.

That is, you raised the notion that kids might not be ready or want the Bible itself, and yet you instead engage them to think about the world from a "Christian" perspective, knowing they don't have the underlying faith required to interact with it. What you end up with are kids who have the self-righteous blanket of "a Christian perspective" spewing their "wisdom" on myriad matters of life that affect others. It often gets ugly.

My dad has always had an interesting perspective: don't necessarily raise kids as "Christians." Raise them to aspire to be the best "whatever" they can be. Inspire them to achieve, to be good to others, to work hard and to have integrity in what they do. Teach them to seek after truth. First, they will have a rewarding experience. But secondly, they will ultimately come face to face with their inherent fallibility. They are human and if you have taught them to be seekers, they will find that there is One who is the Lamb, because HE IS. They won't have to find it in an obscure place. They will be reminded of the household they grew up in and the lives their parents lead. Neck deep in their fallibility, Jesus will rear His head....

I think if my dad knew ahead of time what he'd have to witness me go through to find a faith that is mine and not just derived from learned cultural norms, he might have preached something else!

But that's faith (even if faulty at times). And that's the other key component, I think, in raising children unto Him: to live by faith ourselves. I have shared this before, but in the depths of my rejection of God I obviously did not have faith myself, but I did have faith in my father's faith. There was a protection to me in that, even if I can't quite describe it.

Sorry, this has turned into something more than a response to this thread...

Thanks for indulging.

In Love,

Peter
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:58 PM   #28
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That is, you raised the notion that kids might not be ready or want the Bible itself, and yet you instead engage them to think about the world from a "Christian" perspective, knowing they don't have the underlying faith required to interact with it.
Actually my thought is by HS via their parents and church meetings they would probably have a foundational faith in terms of the basics. Any "teaching" after that would have to be on practical issues they are actually facing: sex, relationships, porn, decision making process, career choices, drugs and alcohol abuse, how to respectfully interact with people of different faiths, peer pressure, boundaries, suicide, anger at God, handling loss and disappointments, etc. And how that "teaching" is done in my view would be more effective in conversational small group settings.

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My dad has always had an interesting perspective: don't necessarily raise kids as "Christians." Raise them to aspire to be the best "whatever" they can be. Inspire them to achieve, to be good to others, to work hard and to have integrity in what they do. Teach them to seek after truth. First, they will have a rewarding experience. But secondly, they will ultimately come face to face with their inherent fallibility.
I like this too. Raise them to be decent human beings and inspire them to achieve their goals. Nothing wrong with that!

Regardless of the theory or methods used my thought and experience is HS kids don't need doctrine or Bible teaching in the general sense of the word. They need practical advise where the rubber meets the road regarding issues they are facing to help them as human beings to arrive into adulthood intact emotionally, socially and spiritually.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:18 PM   #29
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Regardless of the theory or methods used my thought and experience is HS kids don't need doctrine or Bible teaching in the general sense of the word. They need practical advise where the rubber meets the road regarding issues they are facing to help them as human beings to arrive into adulthood intact emotionally, socially and spiritually.
This is fine - it engages them where they are at and about things that concern them. But I differ with you on the "advice" point. I don't know how "practical" it should be.

The questions and decisions they face are extremely complicated and nuanced. There aren't "practical answers." What major? More study or sports? Should I hang out with my non-believer friends or only my Christian ones? My friend just told me he was gay - should I "teach him" or do something else? From the perspective of a young believer (you established that at this point they are saved and understand the basic foundation of the faith), what sould the focus of our encouragement be?

I agree that we SHOULD discuss the life situations they're involved in. But do we give "Christian advice" like there's a "right answer" to the fundamental human quesitons they're asking? Or, at this MOST vulnerable and impressionable time in their development of faith, should we teach them to pray, to search the Word, to question with their companions, to ask questions of us - even ones that challenge basic assumptions of ours.

In other words, should we give them "practical advice" or should we empower them with tools of faith and seeking, even if it means they may challenge us on our presumed "truths" when it comes to these matters?

They might end up all over the map in their short-term "conclusions" to their questions. But perhaps, maybe, they may learn more "faith" than "answers."

In Love,

Peter

P.S. Take me in the right way - there are plenty of more "clear" areas that definate "advice" is necessary, even if we have to have faith in Him when they don't take it. But I'm thinking here more in the areas of "advice" which are really interpretation of purported Biblical prescriptions (which may or may not be actual prescriptions) to specific, complicated human issues. I see too much of this. Kids take this "advice" and turn it into blunt instruments to bludgeon eachother in self-righteousness. Sometimes, they turn into adults who do the same.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:52 PM   #30
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This is fine - it engages them where they are at and about things that concern them. But I differ with you on the "advice" point. I don't know how "practical" it should be.

The questions and decisions they face are extremely complicated and nuanced. There aren't "practical answers." What major? More study or sports? Should I hang out with my non-believer friends or only my Christian ones? My friend just told me he was gay - should I "teach him" or do something else? From the perspective of a young believer (you established that at this point they are saved and understand the basic foundation of the faith), what sould the focus of our encouragement be?
I agree it is complicated and nuanced and we should help them how to think not what to think. But by way of example here is what I mean by practical: my son was in a HS youth group that taught the kids they shouldn't masturbate because it was a sin. Later my son mentioned this to me and asked: if I shouldn't have premarital sex and I can't masturbate what am I suppose to do about my raging hormones? My answer: masturbate. And in further discussion at a later date I said: although I don't condone it and you should do everything you can to avoid it before marriage if you still find yourself in a moment of weakness with a girl make sure you use a condom to protect her health and your health and to avoid pregnancy. I don't know if that was the "Christian" response but that was my response and in retrospect I'm glad I gave it to him.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:54 PM   #31
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That is, you raised the notion that kids might not be ready or want the Bible itself, and yet you instead engage them to think about the world from a "Christian" perspective, knowing they don't have the underlying faith required to interact with it. What you end up with are kids who have the self-righteous blanket of "a Christian perspective" spewing their "wisdom" on myriad matters of life that affect others. It often gets ugly.
This was exactly what I went through growing up in the church life. I was a completely self-righteous Christian. I did not know faith, but thought I did. I was not rebellious against God and bible as other kids were. I was self-righteous but not in a gang...all on my own. Looking back, sometimes I wished I had been rebellious like my peers. Within me there is often a bitterness when I look at my childhood. I felt like I missed out on life because I was too good. And that good didn't really benefit me since it was not a real good but a self-proclaimed good. In my heart I condemned all others who were not as good as me.

Now that I am a relatively new parent, I am also considering how to raise my child (and hopefully children in the future). How to raise them in the faith? How to make sure they don't go through what I went through. Peter, I like what you said about your father saying that you raise them not as Christians but as good people with high human aspirations. That is an interesting thought.

Another point I have been thinking about is whether 6th grade baptism is too early. This is what most LCs have been doing. Maybe we need to put all this in another thread. But I would love to have some discussion on how to raise our children in the Lord.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:04 PM   #32
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I agree it is complicated and nuanced and we should help them how to think not what to think. But by way of example here is what I mean by practical: my son was in a HS youth group that taught the kids they shouldn't masturbate because it was a sin. Later my son mentioned this to me and asked: if I shouldn't have premarital sex and I can't masturbate what am I suppose to do about my raging hormones? My answer: masturbate. And in further discussion at a later date I said: although I don't condone it and you should do everything you can to avoid it before marriage if you still find yourself in a moment of weakness with a girl make sure you use a condom to protect her health and your health and to avoid pregnancy. I don't know if that was the "Christian" response but that was my response and in retrospect I'm glad I gave it to him.
These are the things they're neck deep in. And sometimes the best "practical" advice is the one that goes against their "indoctrination." That's kind of what I'm getting at. They REALLY DO INDOCTRINATE THEMSELVES AMOUNGST THEMSLEVES. So they have built-in guilt about these things. Honestly, I have no idea what I would have told your son. I don't know whether I would have done what you did - assuage his inner torment about a catch-22, or just left is up in the air for him to consider on his own and decide. There really is something to a parent (authority figure) giving a child license in an area where his/her culture has taught him there is no leeway.

I remember once in my junior year of high-school, a classmate called me and invited me to a party. It was a party I knew there would be drinking at. I didn't hang out much with secular high school friends at the time. I told him I could NOT could come. I got off the phone and went back to my dinner with family. When I told my parents who it was and what they wanted, the said "Why don't you go to the party?" This was SOOOOOOOO against my "CONCEPT" of what they wanted me to do. Not because they said so, but because of what impressionable kids internalize. Just surmizing (and I'll likely ask them this soon), perhaps they were looking at a self-righteous kid who needed to just be "friends" with the kids in his class. Given who I was at the time, they probably didn't fear me drinking and driving, so perhaps there was an element of , "This kid needs to loosen up and relate to his fellows..."

That interaction was liberating. Not because it allowed me to go to parties. But because is challenged the "shoulds" that I thought were inherent in the Christian faith.

That's what you did with your son. I not saying here or there whether you did the right thing (not for me to say). But the impulse is right.

Thanks for sharing.

Peter
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:49 PM   #33
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Another point I have been thinking about is whether 6th grade baptism is too early. This is what most LCs have been doing. Maybe we need to put all this in another thread. But I would love to have some discussion on how to raise our children in the Lord.
Moderator:

Is there a way to merge these posts with the thread "Raising the Children of Christians"? If not, to merge them onto a new thread?

That said, Truth, I know what you're talking about all too well. My memory is faulty as far as how judgmental of others I got (I'm not sure I was - though readers who knew me can correct me on this... ). That said, I definately felt a self-importance. I was "good" at being Christian. I prided myself on sitting in the front row and getting picked on by Titus. It was an implicit badge of honor. Really, I had just mastered a set of cultural norms (with a healthy dose of "heavenly language" thrown in).

And, important (for this discussion), I felt and did all these things despite how my parents were raising me:

I remember coming home from a night of the summer school of truth. There were a lot of kids staying in our home (in Cleveland). We had had one of those sessions of "crazy hallelujah praise" where everyone was shouting for 20 minutes. It was a euphoria! We came back to the house that night just euphoric! We couldn't say about what. We relayed these things to my parents around a round of ice cream at the table. My father said "That's great. Maybe you'll also eventually learn how to love Jesus in your life."

(MAJOR CAVEAT: this is TOTALLY my memory and my own internalization - not a statement about my father's view of things).

But the point I internalized is that euphoria is great, but its not the LIFE OF LIVING WITH HIM in myriad human situations that He's called us to. That sort of euphoric "calling" can be inspiring, but don't mistake it for a real life with Christ (this wasn't internalized for a number of years).

All that said about the "cold water" often poured on my zealousness, I wanted to be zealous anyways. I wanted to be "good" at this Christian thing.

The irony: of those I grew up with, some of those who were the "worst" at being "good" ended up with an utterly remarkable faith that humbles me.

Its only been in the last few years, I've begun reconnecting with peers from my youth in Cleveland. I'm almost in tears as I write this as I think about some of things they've been through. Many were "write offs" in my high school years as far as "being Christian" was concerned. And yet these "write offs" now have testimonies that would bring any believer to tears.

What awes me as I talk to them today, as adults, is a utter humility. And a quiet, but astounding faith.

They humble me.

We can't script these things. He can and does.

What feable part do we play in the interim.... THAT'S a question.

In Love,

Peter
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:28 AM   #34
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Is there a way to merge these posts with the thread "Raising the Children of Christians"?
Posts moved.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:48 PM   #35
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These are the things they're neck deep in. And sometimes the best "practical" advice is the one that goes against their "indoctrination." That's kind of what I'm getting at. They REALLY DO INDOCTRINATE THEMSELVES AMOUNGST THEMSLEVES. So they have built-in guilt about these things. Honestly, I have no idea what I would have told your son. I don't know whether I would have done what you did - assuage his inner torment about a catch-22, or just left is up in the air for him to consider on his own and decide. There really is something to a parent (authority figure) giving a child license in an area where his/her culture has taught him there is no leeway.
I'm beginning to see where you are going with this and agree i.e. the HS kids create their own isolated "Christian" culture among themselves (with help from adults) - sort of a miniature of the adult version. It seems this begs the question: what, if anything, should those involved in HS ministry "teach/advise/counsel" the kids and by what mode? Maybe nothing and just have music and activities?

I would think those adults involved would have to be on the same page as their church's "party line" so to speak. As I mentioned with my own son I directly countered the party line. However if I was involved in HS ministry what would I tell other parent's sons with the same question? I would expect some backlash if I told them what I told my own son but if I told them otherwise I would be dishonest about how I actually felt about it.

So maybe these kind of issues are best left to the parents and HS ministry without advise/counseling/teaching would consist of...? Or with advise/counseling/teaching would consist of...? I'm not sure myself.

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I remember once in my junior year of high-school, a classmate called me and invited me to a party. It was a party I knew there would be drinking at. I didn't hang out much with secular high school friends at the time. I told him I could NOT could come. I got off the phone and went back to my dinner with family. When I told my parents who it was and what they wanted, the said "Why don't you go to the party?" This was SOOOOOOOO against my "CONCEPT" of what they wanted me to do. Not because they said so, but because of what impressionable kids internalize. Just surmizing (and I'll likely ask them this soon), perhaps they were looking at a self-righteous kid who needed to just be "friends" with the kids in his class. Given who I was at the time, they probably didn't fear me drinking and driving, so perhaps there was an element of , "This kid needs to loosen up and relate to his fellows..."

That interaction was liberating. Not because it allowed me to go to parties. But because is challenged the "shoulds" that I thought were inherent in the Christian faith.
I like what your parents did here. I don't think "Christian" kids should be isolated from the general culture because such isolation is artificial. Eventually they will be immersed in the culture anyway and have to know how to handle themselves.

And your parents knew you well enough to know you wouldn't drink and drive. With my own kids I said they shouldn't drink underage but if they did they shouldn't drive - call us anytime night or day to pick you up! I also advised them: if you do drink do it in moderation so it doesn't become a chronic habit leading to alcoholism. Again I'm not sure if I was in HS ministry that is what the party line would be. Probably not.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:28 PM   #36
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I'm beginning to see where you are going with this and agree i.e. the HS kids create their own isolated "Christian" culture among themselves (with help from adults) - sort of a miniature of the adult version. It seems this begs the question: what, if anything, should those involved in HS ministry "teach/advise/counsel" the kids and by what mode? Maybe nothing and just have music and activities?

I would think those adults involved would have to be on the same page as their church's "party line" so to speak. As I mentioned with my own son I directly countered the party line. However if I was involved in HS ministry what would I tell other parent's sons with the same question? I would expect some backlash if I told them what I told my own son but if I told them otherwise I would be dishonest about how I actually felt about it.

So maybe these kind of issues are best left to the parents and HS ministry without advise/counseling/teaching would consist of...? Or with advise/counseling/teaching would consist of...? I'm not sure myself.
Very good questions. I certainly don't have answers. Some thoughts though...

To my mind (reflecting on my own experience), the high school years are such a vital time for teaching kids to seek out and evaluate things on their own. A time for them to "own" their faith and if owned, get equipped with the spiritual tools they'll need to confront all sorts of complicated issues once they leave the "nest."

For any second generation believer, the fundamental question is: is this YOUR faith, or is it a historical accident of your birth and upbringing? If kids don't honestly confront this question, they'll either 1) become truly rudderless when the protection of home is gone; or 2) become a party-line zealot.

So - ministry "counseling" would be of this nature. Obviously, on very sensitive issues, its probably best to refer them to their parents. Otherwise, talk through issues with the kids (listening a LOT), but direct them to pray and to read relavent portions of the Word. Perhaps point out the portions of the Word that are used to answer the question by people of DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS and commend them to their own discernment...

I don't know. I suppose it would vary depending on the issue.

Do most churches have definative "party-lines" when it comes to such questions? I suppose that would complicate things.

When my dad was in Anaheim, he worked with young people. He was always a big advocate of getting positively involved in the world - learn music, play sports, be in the school play, volunteer at a soup kitchen, learn hard work through a job. He advocated for developing one's human potential to the maximum. This first develops their talents which God gave them. Secondly, often it is through really striving...and then failing; through engaging with the world around us - that we begin to have a genuine realization of our need for a Savior. That elusive experience for second generation: the salvation experience versus the "learned salvation" through teaching...

The folks in Anaheim did NOT like that! (with some exceptions). "If they play football, they'll miss the Friday night meeting!"

I suppose if I was the parent of one of those kids and agreed with the "party line" - then I might be pretty pissed that the youth minister was "undermining" my parenting. So, its complicated...

Anyhow, just some disconnected thoughts in response.

In Love,

Peter
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:47 PM   #37
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When my dad was in Anaheim, he worked with young people. He was always a big advocate of getting positively involved in the world - learn music, play sports, be in the school play, volunteer at a soup kitchen, learn hard work through a job. He advocated for developing one's human potential to the maximum. This first develops their talents which God gave them. Secondly, often it is through really striving...and then failing; through engaging with the world around us - that we begin to have a genuine realization of our need for a Savior. That elusive experience for second generation: the salvation experience versus the "learned salvation" through teaching...
Your dad is awesome. I wished I had this kind of counselling. It is too bad that those in Anaheim didn't agree with him.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:43 PM   #38
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When my dad was in Anaheim, he worked with young people. He was always a big advocate of getting positively involved in the world - learn music, play sports, be in the school play, volunteer at a soup kitchen, learn hard work through a job. He advocated for developing one's human potential to the maximum...The folks in Anaheim did NOT like that! (with some exceptions). "If they play football, they'll miss the Friday night meeting!"...I suppose if I was the parent of one of those kids and agreed with the "party line" - then I might be pretty pissed that the youth minister was "undermining" my parenting. So, its complicated...
I think your dad displayed a lot of wisdom in his approach and I think good parenting involves helping each child cultivate and develop their talents based on their interests and natural propensities.

I heard he started a school there which I think is still operating. Was he also involved working with HS kids in the context of the Church in Anaheim? If so, what was the content of his counsel/teaching? What did the HS work "look like" in application when he was involved?
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:40 PM   #39
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I think your dad displayed a lot of wisdom in his approach and I think good parenting involves helping each child cultivate and develop their talents based on their interests and natural propensities.

I heard he started a school there which I think is still operating. Was he also involved working with HS kids in the context of the Church in Anaheim? If so, what was the content of his counsel/teaching? What did the HS work "look like" in application when he was involved?
Yes, he and my mom helped establish the Acaciawood High School. But he was also engaged the So. Cal young people's work. I don't know the full extent. He had engagement with the college work, with the FTTA, with the HS work, with ministry in Mexico and in Korea. I don't know to what extent.

One thing I can speak to is this. In each of these endeavors, they just opened their home (often literally, often metaphorically). I have heard reports from former FTTers that my dad's fellowship was a saving grace in the midst of angst. I know personally that many of us (young college-age) found refuge, even as we were re-finding our faith, in my parents home.

It was counseling and spiritually empowering, not necessarily teaching. Does that distincting make sense?

In Love,

Peter

P.S. I am trying to draw a line between relating facts/sharing my experience vs. telling my parents tesitmony. Their experience etc... is not mine to tell.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:56 AM   #40
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One thing I can speak to is this. In each of these endeavors, they just opened their home (often literally, often metaphorically). I have heard reports from former FTTers that my dad's fellowship was a saving grace in the midst of angst. I know personally that many of us (young college-age) found refuge, even as we were re-finding our faith, in my parents home.

It was counseling and spiritually empowering, not necessarily teaching. Does that distincting make sense?
Yes this part makes sense. Young people need a comfortable informal place to go and be honest and open and get solid fellowship instead of the hype and/or boring indoctrination often found in larger more formal meetings.

BTW why did your parents leave Anaheim and go back to Cleveland? Just curious.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:05 PM   #41
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Yes this part makes sense. Young people need a comfortable informal place to go and be honest and open and get solid fellowship instead of the hype and/or boring indoctrination often found in larger more formal meetings.

BTW why did your parents leave Anaheim and go back to Cleveland? Just curious.
There were a number of reasons, but I don't feel its my place to discuss them. As I said, I don't mind sharing things that are "public knowledge" or sharing my experience in relationship with my parents. But their motives, their testimony, if for them to tell.... or not tell.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:48 PM   #42
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There were a number of reasons, but I don't feel its my place to discuss them. As I said, I don't mind sharing things that are "public knowledge" or sharing my experience in relationship with my parents. But their motives, their testimony, if for them to tell.... or not tell.
No worries. I understand your position. I didn't know if it was public knowledge and I just hadn't heard about it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:16 PM   #43
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There were a number of reasons, but I don't feel its my place to discuss them. As I said, I don't mind sharing things that are "public knowledge" or sharing my experience in relationship with my parents. But their motives, their testimony, if for them to tell.... or not tell.
I remember the brief testimony your dad gave in Cleveland right after he returned from Anaheim, must have been late '98 - early '99. I think he spoke in context of following the Lord. He basically related to us that he had made the decision to return to Cleveland one morning with the Lord, and that afternoon his house was sold, and the details were all decided. He did not share his reasons for relocating, only that behind the scenes the Lord had everything arranged.
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